Late last month, stoner rock band Love and a .38 released its sophomore album Nomads to the masses. The unsigned, L.A.-based band’s ten track record boasts a solid blues-infused sound that echoes hints of Black Stone Cherry, Royal Blood, and others of that ilk. That sound, when coupled with the album’s lyrical content, makes the album in whole an early candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s best new independent albums. That is exhibited early on in the solid, driving ‘Went Away.’ Front man Ryan Hudson sounds almost like Black Stone Cherry front man Chris Robertson here. Hudson ’s band mates work together to make this song one of the album’s best moments. And the song’s lyrics serve to exhibit that even more. ‘Big Leg Betty,’ with its up-tempo arrangement and rather attention-grabbing title and lyrics makes this song yet another example of what makes this record so surprisingly enjoyable. ‘Get It Right,’ the album’s closing number shows itself to be yet another example of what makes this record a surprise with its semi-punk vibe. These are just a few examples of what makes Nomads a surprise of an independent release. The seven remaining tracks not noted here come together with these pieces to make the album in whole, again, an early candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s top new independent albums.
Love and a .38’s new sophomore album Nomads is a surprise, early candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s top new independent albums. That is exhibited throughout the course of the L.A.-based stoner band’s ten song, thirty-nine minute record. That being the case it would be easy to cite any of the album’s offerings to exemplify what makes this record such a surprise. That would take far too much time however. So we will start with one of the album’s earliest offerings, ‘Went Away.’ This solid, driving composition is one of the album’s best moments. Drummer Clark Skelton sets up the song in impressive fashion with polyrhythmic pattern that mixes the bass, snare, and floor tom. It is a rhythm that really forces him to remain focused, being that it serves as the song’s foundation from there on out. Hudson is a vocal powerhouse throughout. This is especially the case in the song’s chorus. He absolutely belts it out but with control . And guitarist Domo Domaracki’s work is just as notable here. He expertly helps set the song’s tone alongside Skelton before really establishing the song’s body. The combination of these elements goes a long way toward exhibiting why this song is one of Nomads’ best moments. Of course the song’s lyrical content is just as important to note in the song’s success as its musical arrangement. In regards to the song’s lyrical content, this is an extremely powerful song. Hudson’s subject sings here about apparently losing his mother. He sings in the song’s lead verse, “Lights fade and the room goes cold/I see her layin’/Mama’s prayin’/Something only she knows/Sounds crash with a somber tone/All the beepin’ and the weepin’ leavin’ only me bold.” That last line seems to hint at someone laying in a hospital bed with people all around, tears flowing. It is a vivid picture. He and his band mates go on to sing in the song’s chorus, “I slide close and I close the door/I grab her hand cause I know she’s waiting for me/I talk slow but I’m losing hope/I don’t show what I start to believe.” Things don’t get much better from here for the story. But that is actually a good thing. It serves to make the presented situation all the more believable for listeners despite the painful subject matter. It is just one piece that shows why this record is such a surprisingly enjoyable album, too. ‘Big Leg Betty,’ with its all-too-familiar southern rock sound and equally intriguing lyrics is another key example of what makes this album so surprising.
Nomands proves early on to be one of 2016’s top new independent albums. That is thanks to the musical arrangement and lyrical content presented in ‘Went Away.’ This song is a solid piece that would fit in easily with nearly any other act currently being played on America ’s many mainstream rock radio stations even with the painful story line contained in its lyrical content. It is just one example of what makes Nomads a surprisingly enjoyable independent album, too. ‘Big Leg Betty’ is another prime example of what makes this record keep listeners engaged. In regards to the song’s musical content it is a classic southern rock creation that will be familiar, again, to fans of Brand New Sin, Back Stone Cherry, and others of that ilk. Hudson sings of the song’s title character, “Big leg Betty got a hold on me/She a fine tuned/Warmed up/Hurtin’ machine/She don’t care about what you need/Gotta keep it right and keep it tight/You better believe.” He goes on to sing of the woman in the song’s chorus, “Everything you want, everything you need/You know she give it all to you/Everything you got, everything you see/You know it don’t belong to you.” That chorus is reprised after the second verse in which Hudson sings about a woman much like Betty named Whole Heart Holly. Holly is quite the woman according to this song. Her description–and that of Betty–when set against the song’s driving lyrical content, paints quite the picture. What’s more it paints just as much of a picture of the men that Betty and Holly visit. It’s a familiar story and sound that every stoner rock and southern rock fan will enjoy. It’s just one more example of what makes this record such a surprisingly solid rock record and independent record at that. ‘Get It Right,’ with its semi-punk vibe and story about a woman on the wrong path in life, is one more important addition to the album.
‘Went Away’ and ‘Big Leg Betty’ are both key examples of what makes Nomads a solid new effort from Love and a .38. As important as they are to the album’s overall presentation they are not the album’s only strong points. ‘Get It Right’ is one more of the album’s strong points. That is especially important to note being that it is also the album’s closer. The song’s musical arrangement boasts, as noted, a semi-punk feel that is driven largely by Skelton and bassist Justin Emord. The energy exuded by the song’s musical arrangement also serves to help illustrate quite well the story in the song’s lyrical content. In regards to that side of the song it is just as certain to keep listeners engaged. The song’s lyrical content centers (or at least seems to) on a woman on the wrong path in life. As Hudson sings of the woman in question, “She don’t sleep at night/Her coffin keep her cold/On the streets or off her feet don’t know/Where she’s going home/She said getup/You’re not my soul/Give up, come to me.” From here Hudson sings of this woman that she is not a good girl by any means. He writes that she can make people do what she wants and make them believe whatever she says and despite knowing this of herself she isn’t changing it. As Hudson sings, “She can turn water to rhyme/Drinkin’ the fear from your eyes/Say that she won’t/But she know that she won’t/Ever be free of her crime/She can turn water to rhyme/Drinkin’ the fear from your eyes/Say that you don’t/But she know that you won’t/Ever be free of her time.” In other words, she is in control. At least that is this critic’s interpretation. That could be totally off the mark. One can only hope that if it is, then it is not too far off the mark. Regardless, the combination of the song’s musical energy and the picture painted by the song’s lyrical content makes the song a clearer example of what makes Nomads a surprise of a record especially with it being an independent release. Together with the likes of ‘Went Away’ and ‘Big Leg Betty’ all three songs show this album to be a breakout record for the band. That is proven even more through the seven remaining songs not noted here. All things considered Nomads proves to be a solid second effort for Love and a .38 as well as one of 2016’s top new independent albums.
Love and a .38’s second full-length studio recording could very well be the album that breaks this independent, L.A.-based rock band into the mainstream. From beginning to end of its ten-song, thirty-nine minute body the band offers more than enough radio-ready material for mainstream rock stations across the country. From the deeply emotional ‘Went Away’ to the more classic rock and roll style compositions ‘Big Leg Betty’ and ‘Get It Right,’ this is proven time and again. The seven remaining songs not noted here could each be used to exemplify just as much the amount of radio-ready material that Love and a .38 has to offer in its new album. All things considered, Nomads proves in the end to be a solid second effort from the band and potentially the album that breaks the band into the mainstream given the right support. It is available now and can be ordered direct via the band’s official online store at http://loveanda38.bigcartel.com/product/nomads-cd. More information on Nomads is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:
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